We've known for a long time that fossil fuel interests have been funding a broad effort to attack renewable energy, to slow down or prevent its scaling, and to undermine a major argument in favor of clean energy - the science of climate change. Now, The Guardian is out with what we believe to be an important article, in that it gives us an idea of the amount of funding, and the sources, behind this war on clean energy. A few highlights from the article include:
- Two "secretive" funding vehicles - Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund - have "channelled nearly $120m to contrarian thinktanks and activists, wrecking the chances of getting Congress to act on climate change," and helping fund "a campaign to stop state governments moving towards renewable energy."
- "The campaign against wind and solar power was led by a relatively new entity, the Franklin Centre for Government and Public Integrity. The Franklin Centre did not exist before 2009, but it has quickly become a protege of Donors Trust."
- "In North Carolina, the two Franklin affiliates, the John Locke Foundation and the John W Pope Civitas Institute, also led effort for a ban on the term 'sea-level rise'."
- "The groups have also led opposition to offshore wind development in North Carolina, organising workshops against windfarms. Another Franklin affiliate, the New Jersey Watchdog, pushed for the state to drop out of a regional emissions cutting programme."
- Finally, the Centre for Public Integrity found "multiple ties between the Franklin Centre and groups such as Americans for Prosperity, which has been funded by Donors Trust as well as the conservative oil billionaire Koch brothers."
Also see this article for more information on Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, including that the "people running these organizations are close to the Kochs and have numerous ties to the groups that the DONORS network funds, such as the Koch-founded Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Independent Women’s Forum and the Manhattan Institute." In sum, it's clear that the vast majority of opposition to clean energy is not grassroots in origin, but the result of a concerted, extremely well-funded effort by fossil fuel interests to beat back what they view as a mortal threat to their lucrative, carbon-based industry.